GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – North Carolina sophomore outside hitter Taylor Leath has been selected as the 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year alongside teammate, outside hitter Julia Scoles, who has been selected as ACC Freshman of the Year.
The pair are coached by Joe Sagula, who was awarded Coach of the Year honors, as decided on a vote by the league’s 15 head coaches. Joining the Tar Heel duo with individual honors are Duke’s Sasha Karelov as ACC Defensive Player of the Year and Pittsburgh’s Kamalani Akeo as ACC Setter of the Year.
Leath contributed to the dominant North Carolina offense that sits atop the ACC rankings with a .282 hitting percentage. In conference play, the Tar Heel tallied 232 kills, 178 digs, 50 blocks and 11 aces. She is the first North Carolina Player of the Year since 2005 and sixth overall. Leath was also a two-time ACC Player of the Week and was the first in program history to be honored as the AVCA National Player of the Week and ESPNW Player of the Week.
Along with her Freshman of the Year honors, Scoles was also selected to the All-ACC First Team and All-ACC Freshman Team. Scoles was a two-time ACC Freshman of the Week honoree and was the first true freshman in school history to win ACC Player of the Week honors. She leads the Tar Heel team and ranks sixth in the ACC for service aces (29)
North Carolina’s Sagula was at the helm of the Tar Heels’ successful season. As the ACC Champion, his Tar Heels (27-3, 19-1) earned an automatic bid to the 2016 NCAA Tournament. Under his guidance, North Carolina was ranked in the ACVA Coaches Poll for 13 consecutive weeks, holding a place in the top 10 for nine. The winningest coach in North Carolina history (778-431), this is Sagula’s fifth time being honored as the ACC of the Year.
Thirteen schools are represented on the All-ACC teams, led by North Carolina with seven selections, followed by Pittsburgh with six and Duke with five. Florida State had four student-athletes recognized, along with two from NC State and Wake Forest. Clemson, Miami and Virginia Tech each had one selection.
Three teams received bids to the 2016 NCAA Tournament: No. 7 North Carolina, Florida State and Pittsburgh.
Carolina plays host to first/second rounds which begin on December 2-3.
2016 ACC Volleyball Individual Awards
Player of the Year: Taylor Leath, So., OH, North Carolina
Defensive Player of the Year: Sasha Karelov, Sr., L, Duke
Setter of the Year: Kamalani Akeo, So., S, Pittsburgh
Freshman of the Year: Julia Scoles, Fr., OH, North Carolina